§ 54. Mr. Butler
To ask the Minister for the Arts if he will make a further statement on the progress of the business sponsorship incentive scheme.
§ Mr. Luce
The business sponsorship incentive scheme continues to be successful. It has brought in £16.4 million of new money for the arts and attracted 618 first-time sponsors, many of whom have continued to sponsor the arts. As I announced to the House on 26 January 1988, I have increased the budget for the scheme by 70 per cent., from £1.75 million to £3 million, for 1988–89 and restored the £25,000 maximum award limit.
§ Mr. Butler
I thank my right hon. Friend for that excellent news. Will he reassure me that the awards will continue to be given on merit rather than on skin colour?
§ 55. Mr. Andrew Mitchell
To ask the Minister for the Arts how many new corporate sponsors of the arts have been brought in during the last 12 months as a result of the business sponsorship incentive scheme.
§ Mr. Mitchell
Can my right hon. Friend say how many first-time corporate sponsors returned to repeat their generosity in subsequent years?
§ Mr. Luce
It is interesting to note that a survey has been undertaken by the Association for Business Sponsorship 16 of the Arts, which supervises the scheme, which shows that no fewer than 90 per cent. of firms that joined for the first time have either decided to renew, or are in the process of renewing, their sponsorship. That is a clear sign of the value of the hard-headed bargain between the sponsor and the arts organisation.